Skip to main content
driving concerns

So let’s say I’ve had five speeding tickets in British Columbia in the last five years with a Quebec licence. Sure B.C. demerit points don’t follow me back to Quebec, but will they get added to my licence if I want to change my residency to B.C.?

Jonas


When it comes to traffic tickets, what happens in British Columbia stays in British Columbia.

That means any tickets you get in B.C. on an out-of-province driver’s licence won’t show up on your driver’s abstract back home.

“At this point in time, out-of-province motor vehicle tickets are not applied to B.C. driving records,” said Lindsay Wilkins, spokeswoman for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), the province’s government-run insurer.

Essentially, your home province will never know that you got the tickets.

But, if you move to B.C., any tickets you got there since June 2019 will show up on your new B.C. licence, Wilkins said.

Depending on how many tickets you have and the number of penalty points – B.C.’s version of demerits – that came with them, you might have to pay a driver risk premium.

In B.C., speeding tickets each come with three points.

If you have more than 15 penalty points, that brand new B.C. licence might even be suspended.

Abstract rules?

B.C. is one of two provinces that don’t share demerits and driving records with anywhere else.

Most provinces and territories signed the Canadian Driver Licence Compact (CDLC), a 1990 agreement to share demerits and driving records.

Generally, certain tickets, including speeding tickets, that you get in a CDLC province will show up on your record in every other CDLC province.

The means that if you get a speeding ticket on your Alberta licence in Newfoundland, for instance, it will show up on your Alberta record.

But B.C., Quebec and Nunavut didn’t sign the CDLC – although Quebec has its own sharing agreements with Ontario, Maine and New York.

So, if you’ve got a Quebec licence, only Ontario, Maine and New York tickets will show up on your driving record. Likewise, any demerits that came with the tickets would get added to your Quebec licence.

B.C. tickets won’t show up on your record in any province. Demerits don’t get shared either.

But even when tickets aren’t shared, they’ll stay in the system of the province where you got them.

The sharing rules only apply to provincial traffic tickets. Criminal Code convictions, including impaired driving, show up on your record everywhere in Canada.

Point break?

So why do your records and demerits matter?

In most provinces, insurers look at tickets you’ve collected in the last three years when they set your rates.

For instance, in Ontario, a single speeding ticket could cost you $25 or $30 more every month in insurance.

While demerit points don’t affect your insurance rates directly in most provinces, if you get too many, your licence could be suspended

Do you have to switch your licence when you move?

Generally, yes – although most provinces have exemptions for students.

If you don’t, you could face fines if you’re pulled over by police.

In most provinces, you have to switch within 90 days of becoming a resident. You’ve got 60 days in Ontario, four months in Prince Edward Island and six months in Quebec.

Have a driving question? Send it to globedrive@globeandmail.com and put ‘Driving Concerns’ in your subject line. Emails without the correct subject line may not be answered. Canada’s a big place, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.